The Cat's Whiskers 2:540:00/2:54
1933 National Style O Square Neck
RARE National Style 0 Model Square Neck Resophonic Guitar (1933) with transitional features: a 12 fret neck, "Rolled" F tone holes, "Chicken Feet" cover plate, nickel plated finish, brass body, maple neck with ebonized maple fingerboard
This is an interesting late 1933 National Style O single-cone square neck resonator guitar with distinctive features! The "rolled-in" f-holes in the top were used only for a short time during this period. The 12-fret, rolled f-hole guitars like this are considerably rarer than the earlier "flat cut" or later 14-fret body variations. Less than 1,000 Style 0s made to this pattern in 1933-4. Even fewer also features the Art Deco styled “Chicken-Feet” cover plate, which was initially used only on the very last 12 fret 0s. Many players, including the late National scholar Bob Brozman, consider them the best-sounding of all single-cone Nationals.
It should be emphasized that many (if not most) of the wood square neck National guitars have had their necks “shaved down” to round necks so they could be used for standard guitar styles. This, along with the introduction of the electric steel guitar around the time, created a steep drop-off in the manufacture of acoustic square necks.
This guitar's 12-fret brass body is adorned with whimsical sandblasted Hawaiian scenes, in variation #5 as per the Brozman book. The shaded mahogany (I believe) square neck has a bound "ebonized" maple fingerboard and pearl dot inlay. In 1933, this guitar sold for $62.50, and although that was a not inconsiderable sum at the time, the Style 0 was hard to beat for its combination of volume, tone, and beauty in those economically tough times. The Style 0 remains an enduring classic; a favorite of many players then and now, especially for period musical styles, with the spotlight on early blues.
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm.) wide at the lower bout, and 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm.) in depth, measured at the side of the rim. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 7/8 in. (48 mm.).
This is a nice example overall and sounds clear and powerful. The tailpiece and the fragile decal logo are original and intact. The cone and biscuit are also original to the guitar, as far as I know. Its vintage tuners work properly and hold tuning well. The finish and body show appropriate wear and scattered dings from use. There may have been a clear coat applied over the original neck finish long ago to reseal wear spots. That was followed by substantial use in the subsequent years. I am suspicious that the cover plate was rotated at some point due to the wear in its lower right corner next to the hand rest, which seems consistent with use but not in its current orientation. This Style O has a nice, deep sound with loads of volume and is an excellent blues or Hawaiian machine. A fine example of the enduring appeal of these Depression-era classics. Very Good - Condition.
I used it on my Antique Aloha 2: That Hula Jazz record and and with my Hillbilly Hawaiian string band, The Driftless Plowboys. It sounds loud and clear both in the studio and the bandstand!